The Challenge of the Sea

This exhibit explores the stories associated with shipping and navigation, lifesaving, and weather in Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds, the second-busiest waterways in the world in the 19th century. On display are sextants, chronometers, celestial bodies, and charts, as well as artifacts from local shipwrecks such as the steamer City of Columbus, which wrecked in 1883. From its location in the lower level of the Linnemann Pavilion, this exhibit also demonstrate the optical qualities of the 1854 Fresnel Lens with its 1,000-plus hand-cut crystal prisms and offers an explanation around the mechanics of how the Lens operates.